World Responsible Tourism Day takes places on the Wednesday of WTM London each November, with events arranged locally around the world as the industry demonstrates how it takes responsibility for making the world a better place through tourism. In London, the Responsible Tourism programme has grown year by year and this year it will stretch over all four days of the show. Reed and WTM take Responsible Tourism seriously. They understand that responsible business is good business.
Responsible Tourism is in its second year at WTM Latin America and the panels on the business case for Responsible Tourism and wildlife tourism attracted some lively questions. In the Cape, at the launch of WTM Africa, Responsible Tourism came back to where it started with the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations in 2002, which built on the 1996 South African White Paper. The Hosted Buyers were greeted by Cape Minstrels – a reminder of how cosmopolitan Cape Town is. And there was a warm welcome for Responsible Tourism and the programme of panels was well attended, with presentations from South African, African and international businesses on the business case and the environment.
A series of presentations by 12 Cape Town Responsible Tourism businesses in a speed-networking format was organised by the ICRT Southern Africa. It highlighted emerging businesses, which could not otherwise have exhibited at the show, and gave them time to pitch their unique product to the buyers. The range and quality of the authentic Cape Town experiences on offer was inspiring and ensured that buyers from around the world were aware of what real experiences Cape Town has to offer in addition to the established and well-known attractions. This session was a success with the buyers and the show organisers. It will grow next year.
Last November Elise Allart of TUI Netherlands won the overall award in the World Responsible Tourism Awards presented at WTM on World Responsible Tourism Day. TUI Netherland won the award for their principled stand in raising awareness of the issue with Dutch travellers and encouraging them to report incidents to the Dutch and local police. Elise was in Sao Paulo with Dutch and local campaigners from Plan International to talk about their campaign and share experience about how best to address the issue.
Don’t look away was the message in Cape Town too with three tour operators talking about why the issue is important to their business and how they have addressed it. We heard from Khiri Travel from Asia, Abang Africa and African Impact about how they have addressed the challenge of ensuring safety and wellbeing of children. In November in the debate on World Responsible Tourism Day we’ll be asking why businesses are not doing more to ensure the safety of children and that their facilities and services are not used by child abusers. Don’t look away.